Family · Parenting

Graduation: Bittersweet End

Last night was MC’s graduation ceremony.

It occurred without this family, including MC himself, in attendance.

I am proud of his decision to not walk, because that decision was based on facts and looking to the future when he has to go off to college and he didn’t want anything to stand in the way of his being able to do that.

For MC, being able to be on campus as required, taking advantage of his scholarships in the process, was more important to him than that big moment, that event. He wasn’t willing to risk his ability to start college and for that I cannot be more proud of him.

At the same time, I’m so sad.

I thought I was fine with it all emotionally. I had no problems at all when he started getting texts from one of his friends that did attend with the latest updates on the event. Mostly updates that just confirmed for MC that he made the right choice (because yes, even though they said masks required, people didn’t wear them, even to hand out the diplomas).

Then I saw the pictures the school posted on their FB page and some of the quotes from the speakers.

It knocked the breath from my lungs seeing the evidence and having the realization that this incredibly important moment is now officially final. There were so many “He’s done! But… ” moments along the way. The last official day of school. The last AP test that happened after that last official day, getting those scores (he aced it, of course) and several other things that kept dragging the whole end of high school out just a little bit more.

He ran by the school the other day and picked up his diploma. It will be the last time he sets foot in that school unless he goes for something of BG’s. There are no more tests. No more grades to wait for.

No special recognition for graduating summa cum laude. No moment of cheering when his name is called or as he walks across the stage.

I’m incredibly sad that I don’t get that moment and that his incredible high school career ended without any kind of fanfare.

Instead, I have all these smaller, more personal moments with him. Our amazingly fun photo session of him in his cap and gown. The one and only time I will get to see him in it. His “last day of school” movie night that he wanted as his celebration. Just Hubby, BG, MC and me. And all of our smaller celebrations along the way of all those accomplishments he worked so hard to achieve.

Instead I get to hear him say that the only recognition he needs for those accomplishments, he’s already gotten in the form of his scholarships. I get to see my son making these incredibly tough, but thoughtful, grown up decisions. Decisions that show the incredible kind of man his is already well on his way to becoming.

As of last night, while we sat at home and listened to him relay the information being texted to him from his friend, my son quietly graduated from high school. I am sad and grieving a bit for those lost moments, but I am more proud than I am sad because I have a phenomenal son.

I’m going to have my sad moment before I suck it up and move on. At least for the next couple of weeks before I’m a mess again after move in day and he becomes a college student instead of just a high school graduate.

6 thoughts on “Graduation: Bittersweet End

  1. This is such a perfect vignette of this moment in time for him and your family. The fear, the pride, the convictions and resignation. Excitement. Acceptance…future. The inevitable passage to adulthood. I didn’t realize we both had seniors this year. I haven’t been able to put words to any of this. I let myself feel the grief of J never returning to a school she has been at since preschool. But I just couldn’t grasp or inspect the jagged path Gigi has walked and still successfully finished school. It was nearly silent. Students have lost so much this year. So I loved reading this post full of hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you could connect! MC got a choice in how he ended his high school career when so many never did. Even that concept is something that I struggle with. Every single one of these students viewed the things that didn’t happen differently. They all held different meanings to different people. In so many ways I’m grateful for the fact that my son didn’t see the graduation event as a moment he needed to have or experience because I really wasn’t all that comfortable with it. This is such a hard time for both the seniors that have lost out on so much and their parents for trying to help them navigate all those tangled emotions and experiences. Then for them all to have to turn around and deal with the already normally emotional event of going off to college, but now have to do so with so much that isn’t normal but makes it all that much harder. I think we are all going to need at least a bottle of wine or a mountain of chocolate or whatever small comfort of our choice soothes us best because we sure as hell deserve it after all this!


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